Fresh Thanksgiving Sides

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When European settlers arrived in what’s now America in the 16th and 17th centuries, they stumbled upon many unfamiliar foods, cranberry bogs included. They also discovered cornstalks, pumpkins and wild turkeys. We credit the Pilgrims with having the first Thanksgiving feast – an ode to the country’s bounty and the foundation of our giving thanks.

This season, don’t forget to thank a farmer for the hours of labor put in to feed you, me and a good part of our world. I’m proud to have grown up on an Illinois farm with memories of taking grain to the local elevator each fall. I can even remember my father and uncle getting up from the Thanksgiving table after we finished dinner to finish the harvest. I learned dedication to a job and gratefulness for our land’s abundance from helping on the farm.

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Brandied Cranberries

Cranberries, by the way, pack a lot of nutrition – rich in phytonutrients (naturally derived plant compounds), particularly proanthocyanidin antioxidants, essential for all-around wellness. The berries contain numerous substances that may offer protection from tooth cavities, urinary tract infections and inflammatory diseases. This simple Brandied Cranberry Relish recipe features the fruit baked with sugar, brandy and citrus. You can serve it warm or cold in a variety of ways, from a topping for turkey to a dip for crackers and cream cheese.

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